A resurgent Kevin Gausman would go a long way for a Blue Jays club in desperate need of a hero

The Jays really need him more than ever in their underwhelming season thus far
Apr 28, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (34)
Apr 28, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (34) / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Toronto Blue Jays began 2024, there was speculation that their offense could be one of the team’s weaknesses heading into the season. But one thing that they were pretty sure of was the fact that they had a strong starting rotation anchored by 2023 Cy Young finalist Kevin Gausman. In fact, just last year, the Blue Jays starters collectively dominated by ranking second in the entire league in strikeouts (922), third in ERA (3.85) and fifth in innings pitched (894.2).

However, as the Jays’ offense encountered their troubles to start the season as expected, Gausman unexpectedly was met with the same fate as well. In his first three starts of 2024, he scuffled to an uncharacteristic 0-2 record with an abysmal 11.57 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, along with opponents hitting at a .372 clip off of him. Perhaps some of his injury issues during spring training that ended up delaying his buildup had something to do with it, but it was certainly not the ideal start that both the Jays and Gausman himself had envisioned.

But since that stretch, encouraging signs of him beginning to turn things around have surfaced in the past three games. In those outings, he has looked more like the Gausman of old as he compiled a stellar 0.96 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, along with giving up just one home run in 18.2 innings pitched. More importantly, he has produced quality starts in each of his last two games, including a key win over the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers to end the Jays’ season-high five-game losing streak. That momentum-changing ability of Gausman is exactly what the Jays desperately need to get their season back on track.

As a result, having a resurgent Gausman is critical for the Jays as a whole, as he can have a great influence on the team’s success. In addition, with only José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi being consistent and reliable starters so far, it will be up to Gausman to ensure that the Jays actually have a good chance of winning at least three out of every five times out, since both Chris Bassitt and the fifth starter’s spot have been so-so to date.

More significantly, with the usual leaders on the club in Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer all off to slow starts, it is about time that Gausman steps up and take the reigns in leading the team and be the “hero” to inspire those around him to all improve and play better. After all, if he can do it, then there’s no excuse that the others can’t follow suit.